Ahead of facing Everton on Monday, Raul Jimenez has reflected back on his season with Wolves so far having returned to football in the summer following his sickening head injury.
The Mexican forward, who is also hoping to guide his country into the World Cup in Qatar next winter, has enjoyed getting back onto the pitch once again in the Premier League, and believes the improvements his team are experiencing in recent weeks are just the start of a new era at Molineux, with plenty more excitement still to come.
On his return from injury
“It was a long process and a difficult moment in my life. I think it’s a difficult situation for any footballer. It was challenging, but I managed to recover and leave it behind me.
“The support of my family, of Daniela, of my daughter Arya, but also all the love shown by the fans, gave me an extra motivation to come back and play football like before.”
On getting back on the pitch
“I’m feeling better and better. I see I’m able to help the team more and more. I’m feeling well, I feel happy with what I’ve done for the team, with what I’ve managed to contribute during our last few matches, and I want to continue on this path.
“From the first day of this Premier League season, I was thinking about being here and playing football again, because that is already an incredible achievement for me.
“And then, to score a goal in that game against Southampton, I will always remember that moment for being the first goal after what happened. Finally, I could find closure after my long absence from the pitch, due to my head injury.”
On Wolves’ season so far
“We’re doing OK. We’re all disappointed with our first three games, where I think we deserved more, but from then on, we have been improving.
“We have been doing things better and scoring goals. That is the most important thing we can do to help the team and to win matches.
“But we’re just getting started. We’re still in the early stages of the season, and there’s still a long way to go to prove ourselves.”
On facing Everton this Monday
“We had two days off to recover from the last game, but then we have been working flat out, knowing that we have a difficult game ahead of us.
“Everton are just one point ahead of us, with 14 points, so if we can win it, we’ll pass them to make it in the top 10, but if we lose, they’ll start to widen the gap with us.
“We always have to aim for the three points, even when we know it’s going to be a difficult match. They are coming from an important defeat and we’re expecting that they will want to rebound and get some points in Wolverhampton.
“But we’re determined to make the home advantage work in our favour, and we’ll do the best we can to win that match.”
On the support of the Wolves crowd
“It’s just incredible. Every time they start singing, it gives you something extra. You can feel that they are supporting you, that they will always be there for you, in good times and in bad times.
“No matter if you play against the first placed team, or against the dead last club, the Molineux stadium will be full. Wherever we go, our fans will travel with us too. They are there supporting us, unconditionally.
“It’s just amazing for a footballer to know that every weekend you will play in front of full stadiums and that you will see your fans supporting you, no matter what.
“For me, personally, when they start singing that song – Si Senor – to me, it just feels incredible. I could have never expected the love that the Wolves fans have given me.”
🇰🇷 HCH 🤝 RJ9 🇲🇽 pic.twitter.com/zOZiGQOgGP— Wolves (@Wolves) October 2, 2021
On aiming to reach the 2022 World Cup with Mexico
“I’m very happy I was able to play with Mexico again. I think it’s something that I needed. For reasons that everyone knows, it hadn’t been possible to come back in September, but in October, the situation changed and I was able to return and play three games.
“It also felt very good to have a change of scenery. It is necessary, from time to time, and even though I am having a great time here in Wolverhampton and I am having an amazing time with Wolves, it is always good to be able to change scenery.
“Mexico has been doing well. We have 14 points and the next game is going to be complicated [against second-place USA], but we know that if we get just one point, we should have our ticket to the World Cup practically guaranteed.
“I've dreamt about reaching the World Cup. To think I could play there is fantastic. But once Mexico gets there, I’ll then dream about scoring goals in a World Cup.”
Jimenez was speaking to NBC and DAZN.